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Absolutely Easy & Delicious Stew Hen

Absolutely Easy & Delicious Stew Hen

When it’s time to retire our laying hens we harvest them, and they become stew hens. One of our goals is to help you become a true “nose-to-tail eater” by relishing every part of the critter produced in every part of the process. Because our focus is on producing eggs consistently year-round the retirement of laying hens is essential.

Each year our pullets (young hens who haven’t begun to lay) arrive at the farm. Once the pullet start laying full-size eggs it is is time for the older hens to retire. Many farmers send them off to made into animal food, but we prefer they nourish our community- just like their eggs.

These three recipes are as delicious as they are filling.  If you love our eggs, then surely you will love our stew hens!

Absolutely Easy & Delicious Stew Hen- Made 3 Ways!

Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple Creek Farm Stew Hen
  • 2 tbsp butter or your favorite Apple Creek cooking-fat
  • 2 tbsp curry powder or curry paste (more to taste)
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic minced or to taste
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 jar of Turtle Rock Farm’s diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar or to taste
  • ½ tsp each salt & pepper or to taste
  • Vegetables of your choice- kale, chard, peas, peppers, butternut squash, or zucchini

Directions

Cooking the Stew Hen

  • Place the defrosted stew hen in a large Dutch oven and cover with cold water. Cover and simmer for 3-6 hours, refill water as needed to ensure the hen remains submerged.
  • Alternatively, place a frozen or thawed stew hen into an Instant Pot. Fill pot to max fill level and set for high pressure 2.5 hours
  • Add any of the following for a more nourishing broth; 2-3 pieces dried reishi mushroom (available from Island Mushroom Company), sea weed, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Once your stew hen is cooked, remove the bird and all bones from the broth. I like to use metal BBQ tongs to pick out the large pieces and then place a colander in a large bowl and pour remaining liquid through to catch any small bones or bits of meat. Pick the carcass to separate skin, bones and meat. Reserve broth, meat and any fat (skimmed from the top of your cooled broth).

For the Curry

  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the olive oil and stir in the onion, garlic and curry.
  • Cook for 2 minutes then add the reserved broth, meat, coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar.
  • Add in your choice of additional vegetables, stir together, bring to a boil then cover with a lid. Simmer for 10-15 minutes while cooking jasmine (or similar rice) to accompany the curry.
  • Garnish the curry with parsley and serve over rice.

Chicken & Dumplings

Ingredients

This is our adapted version of the Smitten Kitchen version of this recipe, which was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

For the Stew

  • 1 Apple Creek Farm stew hen (prepared as directed above)
  • salt & pepper or to taste
  • 4 tbsp butter or your favorite Apple Creek cooking-fat
  • 2 medium leeks, white and green parts only, cut in half lengthwise then into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic minced or to taste
  • 6 tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth (reserved from stew hen preparation)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, minced

For the Dumplings

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)

Directions

For the Stew

  • Melt butter or fat in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and salt – cook until softened about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, then whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Stir in the meat, broth, milk, thyme and bay leaves. Let simmer as you prep the dumplings

For the Dumplings

  • Stir flour, baking powder and salt together
  • Warm milk and fat on the stovetop until just warm, about 1 minute
  • Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth and incorporated.
  • While the stew is simmering, stir in the peas, tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
  • Gather a portion of the dumpling batter onto a teaspoon or soup spoon, then push the dumpling into the stew with another spoon.
  • Cover the surface of the stew with dumplings, leaving about ¼ inch between them.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until dumplings have doubled in size 15-18 minutes.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Adapted from the Grass-Fed Gourmet – one of our favorite cookbooks!

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple Creek Farm stew hen
  • 20-ounce can unsweetened pineapple, drained and juice reserved
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp coarse salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Other vegetables of choice chopped into bite-sized pieces – kale, chard, peas, peppers or green beans
  • Hot, cooked rice

Directions

  • Cover a stew hen in water in a large kettle or Dutch oven.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer all day, until about 1 hour before you are ready to serve. Alternatively, put the bird in a slow- cooker with 1 quart of water, cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Remove the hen from kettle or slow-cooker, reserve broth
  • Pull off the skin and bones, cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  • Pour 2 cups of the broth into a soup pot (rest of broth can be frozen for later use)
  • Add the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce or liquid aminos, and salt.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and brown sugar thoroughly to avoid lumps
  • Add to the seasoned broth and simmer over medium heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens and is noticeably darker.
  • Add the carrots, meat, and pineapple chunks cook 5-10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Finally, add onions and any other vegetables or chopped greens you like, simmer until all are crisp-tender.
  • Serve over rice

 

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